Activity Notes

  • Sunday Skill Builders: Digital Trip Planning
  • Sunday, April 23
  • Registration opens March 23
  • 6 PM to 9 PM
  • Mazamas Mountaineering Center (SE 43rd and Stark, Portland)
  • Experience level: reasonable computer literacy

New for 2023, the Sunday Skill Builders happen on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, usually from 6 to 9 PM. The second Sunday is more for beginner/intermediate topics, and the fourth Sunday is more for intermediate/advanced techniques.  Registration opens one month before the class. Topics will rotate and repeat, so if you miss one and want to take it, keep an eye out for it again.

Want to increase the chances of having a happy and successful backcountry trip? Hitting all your objectives starts with pre-trip planning at home, using modern tools such as Caltopo, Gaia GPS, and Google Earth. 

  • A laptop computer and mouse are required for this class.
  • Please make an account at CalTopo and sign up for a $20 annual subscription prior to class. 
  • If you have a GPX track file for a particular trip you want to do, please bring it.

What we’ll cover:

  • Find GPS tracks online for climbing routes and hiking trails
  • Learn the basics of using CalTopo where you can import those tracks and print maps
  • How do use Google Drive to keep all your trip documentation in one place, and to easily share
  • Learn how to easily share PDF maps and GPS tracks with your pals, even if you don’t have a cell connection
  • Learn how to view a KML file of your route in Google Earth
  • How to draw a route in Google Earth and import it to CalTopo 
  • How do use satellite imagery for trip planning
  • How do use advanced weather forecast websites such as, Caltopo, and snow depth maps 

Pre-class study:

  • I made a tutorial video on using CalTopo. if you are new to this software I highly recommend you watch this before our class to get familiar with the basics. See it here.
  • I have another longer video on my process for pre-trip planning. There are many approaches to doing this, here's one that works for me. We will be doing something like this in class, so if you'd like to study it beforehand, here's the link.


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$ 25 .00 for Mazama members
$ 35 .00 for non-Mazama members


21 openings
3 / 30 applications received


Have questions about registration or your application status?

Email or call (503) 227-2345

Group Information


Have questions about registration or your application status?

Email or call (503) 227-2345